Some final thoughts on the woman seeking a divorce

February 10, 2012

in Seeing Clearly, Series, The "D" word

This is the final part in a series for men facing divorce. See parts one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight and nine.

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Are they all cheating?

When I started this series, I expected some push back and some ideas I had not considered. Got both. What I was not ready for was the number of people who would try to convince me having an affair or planning to have one is the most common reason a woman seeks a divorce, that women commit adultery as much (one fellow said more) than men, or if she’s not having an affair now it’s inevitable she will if she keeps pushing for a divorce. There seem to be more than a few men out there who think the plethora of well-done studies on adultery are wrong (or intentionality dishonest) and apparently women are so desperately horny for sex with anyone other than their husband that it’s amazing they are not doing it in public.

Okay, the last bit is me, but it’s the logical conclusion if you believe what some have told me. If it were one or two men who said something like this, I’d write it off, but I’ve had more than a dozen. Yes, I know some women cheat, but that does not explain what I am hearing. I find myself wondering why some men make it about, or want it to be about, sex. Why would “she must be having or is about to have an affair” somehow make it easier for a man? Is as simple as the only reason he can think of? Is he projecting male sexuality onto women? Does adultery let him off the hook with his friends and church?

The reason aside, that some men are so focused on a sexual explanation for a wife divorcing concerns me. I’ve had a couple of guys flat out tell me it’s the ONLY reason their wife (and one even said any woman) would want a divorce. I am baffled! Is it so hard to imagine a woman might be miserable in her marriage for reasons other than sex? If a man can’t imagine any other reason a woman would want out of her marriage, I suspect his wife may well be unhappy in her marriage!

Here’s the thing, women are far more about relationships, feelings, and emotions than they are about sex. What’s more, they usually are not much about sex at all unless those other things are working well. When a woman does cheat, it is rarely for the sex, but rather because she is getting other needs met and the sex just happens as a natural part of it. Yes, there are exceptions, but those are just that – exceptions! If a wife is getting what she needs outside the bedroom from her husband, the odds of her having sex with another man are slim. If her husband is not providing what she needs outside the bedroom, she is going to be unhappy in her marriage, which can lead to divorce with or without an affair.

Please do not think I am saying a woman is right to divorce just because she is unhappy – she is not. But it happens, and it is happening with increasing frequency – even in the church. There was a time when a man was pretty safe from divorce if he did not beat his wife, get drunk all the time, or openly cheat; those days are gone. It’s no longer enough to simply not be too bad; fail to be a halfway decent husband and you may find you are no longer a husband. Yes, it’s horrible a woman would divorce for any little thing; it’s also horrible a man would fail to work on his marriage and give his wife some “little thing” she sees as cause for divorce.

One other reality check – in most of the “modern world” a woman does not need a man in the way women needed men in the past. Our modern world is less physically demanding, and less threatening and scary in many ways. There are plenty of jobs for women, and plenty of places offering help for women. A woman with three kids and nothing but a GED won’t have it easy, but such a woman can make a go of it for herself and her children.

The bottom line is we must live in the world we have. We live in a world where not having biblical grounds for divorce means nothing to a growing number of folks, including more and in the church. Those who don’t deal with the reality of our world are at a disadvantage. While I think we should preach how it should be, we also need to see how it is and make intelligent choices and decisions based on reality.

By the way, none of what I’ve said should be read as me thinking a wife should have to put up with being treated wrong. I am arguing against those whose only defence to their wife wanting a divorce is “she does not have a biblical right”. Telling a woman that does not stop divorces, even if she does not have a right. It’s a waste of time – deal with the reality.

Finally: someone sent me a link to MIDLIFE For Dummies. What is sad/scary about this very tongue in cheek article is I’ve actually had men say some of what is there as if it was a good (or even) godly plan. I’ve also seen a good many examples of men and women who were doing some of what is “advised” there. If you’re doing anything in that article, I’d suggest a hard look at yourself, and seeking help from someone to help you not do things that can only harm your marriage!

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41 comments
Broken soul
Broken soul

I have detached my self from my husband which I have left him 3 times & this is the final straw. He is controlling & manipulates me by telling me that he will change. He tries for a few and then goes back to his own ways making me feel disappointed, angry & manipulated. I been waiting for him to stop being emotionally and physically abusive for 21 years. He never let's me express my feelings. If he doesn't like what I'm saying, he starts shouting and that's the end of that and my feeling have been neglected. He provides financially, material wise I have everything but not emotionally. :(

Eruvwu
Eruvwu

Referring to the article, divorce is not God's will. People however, will seek divorce due to the hardness of their hearts - Matthew 19:8. Adultery is not the only reason a wife would seek to divorce her husband. Women are emotional creatures, if she is emotionally 'crushed' repeatedly she may seek a divorce or counselling? It's sad that the 'little things' that can be done to save a marriage are not, then when it escalates to divorce the husband or wife claim to have been taken by surprise, when they did not commit to working on their marriage/problem. A good marriage is a joint effort, but when only one spouse is committed, then it's time to take it to the Lord in prayer and fasting and let him do his work, Matthew 7: 7-8, Isaiah 58 and Proverbs 21:1. However, I speak from the point of view of marriage between believers. I also hope this helps in relation to previous comments made in this forum? It is not easy when you are going through marital problems, but with God all things are possible, the problem is, we rarely call or leave it until it's too late! I just keep hearing God saying, 'Call upon me in the day of trouble and I will answer you' Psalm 50: 15.

kori
kori

I was married for 12 years. Tho after 3 months of being together it started to get emotionally abusive, i know if my needs were met in others way by my ex, i would not of left. I cant speak for all women, but i can say that closeness is important. The need to feel wanted and desired and the need for affection not in a negative way. Not to be rejected sexually either. This might sound as if it is all about sex, but really its not. After the 3 month period sex became almost non existant. When i got pregnant after being together for 6 months it was a no brainer when i would be due cause we had only had sex once in the 3 months. No not because i didnt want to but cause he didnt. What does that do to a womens self esteme that her own husband doesnt desire her. He didnt have an issue with being able to have sex and i also dont believe he was getting it else where. There was no little kisses thru the day just ur standard kiss when he got home or before he left and an i love u morning and night or hanging up from phone. When i would tell him of my needs he would after a while say i was wired wrong. After about a year i realized from playing online and chatting with the opponents that i was getting positive attention and it was from men. I guess i made excuses in my head that it was ok cause i wasnt really cheating. I wasnt having sex with anybody just getting attention. I have heard of emotional affairs but didnt think this was the same. I left my ex 3 times prior to the last i always took him back. Things didnt change. I would just revert back to my online games. We were only going thru the motions and so was he. I was making my plans to leave and it took 7 yrs to get up the courage to do it for the final time. Of course i tried the fireproof method a couple years before i left but it didnt help. I had cheated on him he knew and i was at wrong for it. I felt if he was gonna acuse me of it all the time well then so be it. I tried to work it out again cause now its all my fault for cheating. In the end in his eyes he did nothing wrong and it was all my fault and in mine it was his. Its not about sex its about being desired, wanted, loved and important enough to put energy into.

John Delcamp
John Delcamp

I might have been misunderstood because in no way was I placing blame or do I blame others. I see it as a need for both the husband and wife to take responsibility for their actions and attitudes, especially the husband since God designed him to be the leader of the family and realize that our "sins" don't just affect us. They affect those around us. We can't change someone else, we can only change ourselves. Yet, at the same time we can influence others by doing things that causes them to react, either positively or negatively. Selfishness, the opposite of love, makes us men sit back and expect our wives to change to meet us and that same selfish attitude opens the dooor of opportunity for them to consider having their needs met by someone who does not appear to be selfish. Yes, it is her decision and she will be responsible before God for it. But as the leader of the family, men are to be a spiritual covering for their wife as Christ is for the church and protect her from unnecssary temptations, not create circumstances to make temptation easy.

Evan
Evan

It does surprise me to hear that some think the only reason a woman could be unhappy in a marriage is because of sex problems. That seems quite absurd to me. Unhappiness in any part of our life can come from many things besides sex! It has for me; I had unhappy times long before I ever knew anything about sex!

saved sinner
saved sinner

TGH: This is my first comment ever although i have been following this series in particular having gone through a divorce and by the grace of GOD, had my marriage restored. There was no infidelity in our divorce but none the less it was the best thing to ever happen to me. Upon this divorce I accepted Christ as my LORD and SAVIOR and through much biblical counseling by myself, then as a couple prior to being re-married, I truly learned what loving someone really means. The bible is all about personal responsibility, especially when it comes to our loving our spouse. Loving our spouse is about our responsibility to GOD, not our responce to our spouses performance. While we were dead in our trespasses and sin ( our performance) GOD loved us so much that as it says in Isaiah 53:10 But the LORD was pleased to crush him (JESUS), putting him to grief; If he would render himself a guilt offering. ( his performance) What a contrast true love is. What i'm trying to say to fix any marriage each one has to look at themselves, and love your spouse as to the LORD, regardless of their performance. Remove the log from your own eye then look at the speck in hers. We will not give an account of how our spouses loved or treated us they will, but we sure will give an account of how we loved them as Ephesians 5:24 says Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and GAVE himself up for her. If a man loves his wife like this and the wife still has an affair, she has personal responsibility to GOD for her actions not the husband. So guys love your wives as to the LORD regardless of her performance, and if your in a difficult season of your life and marriage there is no better way to live CHRISTIAN than loving someone most when they deserve to be loved the least. Look at the picture of CHRIST giving himself up for the church. Blesssing to all.

Arthur Krebbs
Arthur Krebbs

"Here’s the thing, women are far more about relationships, feelings, and emotions than they are about sex." My wife and I have not had sex for something on the order of two months. She's claiming another of her manifold physical conditions. Nonetheless, this morning after getting up and having my time of prayer, I slipped back into bed to hold her, knowing sex was off the table. No response. Later, when she woke up, I could tell she was angry. She said Fridays are her morning to sleep in and that I had awakened her and she couldn't get back to sleep. We also can't cuddle at night because she has to sit up in bed reading - with the light 0n when I'm exhausted from a long day of work - until long after I've fallen asleep. So apparently she is neither about relationships and emotions nor about sex. At this point, she seems to be all about ice cream.

John Delcamp
John Delcamp

Coming from the perspective of a husband, who lved God, who married young, who came from a disfunctional family, and now by the grace of God has learned so much about God's love and it application to my life, even being able to provide pastoral counseling - both pre and post marriage, I have found though 36 plus years that a woman's sexual infidelity is usually the result of emotional infidelity first. That emotional infidelity comes as a result of another man providing to her emotionally what she is not getting from her husband and many times he does not have a clue. Sometimes that is because of selfishness and other times because the wife is unable to communicate to her husband in a way he understands her needs, especially emotional needs. Sometimes the wife does not know, she just knows she not getting what she desires. Having witnessed that in almost every case of a wife being unfaithful to her husband, I have also noticed that a wife will become, both postive and negative, what her husband makes her become as a result of his actions, attitudes, grace, mercy, and compassion. The longer a couple is married, the more visible this becomes. Many times because a wife is being made into something she does not like, even detests, she will withdraw from her husband as a way to protect herself from what he is doing to her. When this happens, she unkowningly becomes a target for attention from men that makes her feel like a woman again - the woman she believes she was created to be. There is so much more to discuss on this matter, now is not the time.

Tony
Tony

TGH, perhaps there are so many men saying this because for every man who is cheating, there is a woman who is willing to cheat with him. The problem with the studies is that folks are simply going to lie about if they are faithful or not. If they were truthful, they wouldn't be cheating. So there will a number of people who lie about the fact they are betraying their spouse. The reasons may be different, but I believe that cheaters are evenly represented in both genders for the previously stated reasons. The problem is, it's difficult if not impossible to restore a relationship with someone who is unwilling or unable to be honest. That dishonestly may manifest itself in simply not telling you when she's unhappy. You know, you ask her about how "we" are or how she is, and her words say, "fine." You later find, when she's having her affair that she wasn't fine, and she expected you to "just know" This is a very common scenario. I think it's more common than you are willing to admit. Scripture is pretty clear, we are ALL sinners and we all fall short of the glory of God. Not men more than women, not women more than men. How we each get to sin may be different, but I don't think there are any significant differences in how many women vs men are abusive, or unfaithful, or whatever. Again, the means may be different, as I believe women perpetrate their abuse emotionally and verbally (where they perceive they have the upper hand) and men do so physically. Likewise for affairs. Men have sex to get love, women love to get sex. If they are doing that with someone other than their spouse, it's an affair. I didn't think my ex-wife was hot for sex when she had her affair. She wanted something, something she couldn't tell me or describe. I know, I asked. I asked her for just an hour a day together, just her and me so we could be better connected. She wouldn't even do that, and that was YEARS before she ultimately betrayed me. If your wife can't tell you what she wants, then how is a man supposed to know? I read that story over and over again. Folks who believe in the fairy tale. That if you love someone, you will simply know what to do for them. If you have to ask, then the other person doesn't love you. Sorry, but I think the folks who are suggesting that women have as many affairs as men are more clearly observing what is going on. The path they take to get to that point may be different, but the destination is the same. For every man having an affair, there is a woman who is willing to sleep with someone who is not her husband. Regardless of her marital status, she certainly knows she's not married to him. So one cannot claim ignorance to the fact that he's married. They certainly know that she's not married to him. Certainly if she's married to someone else. But even when she's not, she knows she's not married to him. Let's assume that all women in affairs are unmarried. Do we think that they are suddenly going to honor marriage once they get married? Given the fact that 2/3rds to 3/4s of all divorces are sought by women, it seems a pretty difficult sell that women are more committed to marriage than men. Especially when, as you suggest, only about 20% of those divorces involve serious marital misconduct such as abuse or adultery. So the bottom line is I'm not surprised at all. I think the guys who've been writing you and suggesting this are close to the truth when it comes to the state of affairs (pardon the pun) on Earth with respect to marriage.

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